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Avoiding Plagiarism: What is Plagiarism?

This guide was created to explain plagiarism and also provide useful tips on how to avoid plagiarism.

Texas State University's Definition

The Texas State Student Handbook defines plagiarism as:

"the appropriation of another's work and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one's own written work offered for credit."

(Texas State Honor Code, Addressing Acts of Dishonesty, Academic Offenses, C.)

An Informal Definition

Plagiarism is a very serious offense. Plagiarism includes:

  • using someone else's ideas or writings and presenting them as your own
  • Using someone else's paper or paying someone to write your paper
  • Restating someone else's ideas or writings too closely
  • Not citing quotations

Abusing the Internet: Plagiarizing

Another Definition

The Modern Language Association's definition of plagiarism:

Scholarly authors generously acknowledge their debts to predecessors by carefully giving credit to each source. Whenever you draw on another's work, you must specify what you borrowed whether facts, opinions, or quotations and where you borrowed it from. Using another person’s ideas or expressions in your writing without acknowledging the source constitutes plagiarism. Derived from the Latin plagiarius ("kidnapper"), plagiarism refers to a form of intellectual theft. In short, to plagiarize is to give the impression that you wrote or thought something that you in fact borrowed from someone, and to do so is a violation of professional ethics. (Joseph Gibaldi, MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. 2 nd. ed, New York: MLA, 1998: 151).

If you are caught plagiarizing, you may be expelled from school.

Texas State University has adopted the Texas State Honor Code. Please review the responsibilities of faculty and students according to the Code.

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